When you’re suffering from uncomfortable menopause or menstrual symptoms, it can be hard to determine which remedies are fact versus fiction. While soy has faced increased scrutiny as of late, it is worth investigating as a way to prevent women’s health problems. Not only have soy isoflavones been known to be helpful in treating female reproductive issues, they have also been used for their ability to prevent breast cancer and kidney disease. So, what are they, and more importantly, are they safe? Let’s start by discussing what they are.
Soy isoflavones can be found as the active ingredient in soy and are bioflavonoids which interact with the body’s hormones. Chemically they are very similar to the estrogen hormone which is why they continue to be studied for their effects on women’s health and wellness. Some of the benefits of isoflavones rely on the body’s individual ability to process them. This ability can vary from person to person so not may be as beneficial to everyone. Current research does suggest that isoflavones are taken when young can prevent cancer at an older age.
Soy Isoflavones are beneficial for many different conditions including:
For some of these conditions, soy isoflavones are primarily useful when used preventatively. For instance, women who consume a high soy diet throughout their lives seem to be less likely to develop breast cancer. Scientists thereby believe that if one consumes soy consistently throughout their life they can decrease their likelihood of developing the condition. Similarly eating a diet high in soy reduces the blood sugar levels in those with and without diabetes. This is more effective when done preventatively rather than reactively.
In addition, Isoflavones are beneficial in reducing hot flashes had by women going through menopause. Eating a high soy diet does not help with other conditions of menopause though such as dryness or itching.
Eating a high soy diet can be beneficial for so many other conditions such as high cholesterol and kidney disease. Soy isoflavones can help to reduce protein in urine and lower cholesterol. The moral of the story is that almost anyone can benefit from a diet rich in soy. It can not only prevent many different illnesses and conditions but help to alleviate the conditions you may already be experiencing. This does not mean that it is a miracle substance though, there are plenty of risks associated with soy as well.
There are many different foods that you can get your daily intake of soy from. Some include:
One great way to get soy isoflavones through a non-supplemental form is with miso soup. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup with a savoury salty flavor. Thankfully Epicurious has a quick and easy miso soup recipe that can actually feed up to 6 people.
Combine wakame with warm water to cover by 1 inch and let stand 15 minutes, or until reconstituted. Drain in a sieve.
Stir together miso and 1/2 cup dashi in a bowl until smooth. Heat remaining dashi in a saucepan over moderately high heat until hot, then gently stir in tofu and reconstituted wakame. Simmer 1 minute and remove from heat. Immediately stir in miso mixture and scallion greens and serve.
For the full recipe go to epicurious.com.
Recommendations for soy vary greatly based on pre-existing conditions and personal needs. It is always best to contact a physician or do some research to determine not only how much you should have but whether you should have it at all.
As always, before taking medications or herbal remedies it is important to contact a physician or do your research. Take the time to determine if you are healthy enough to improve your Soy Isoflavones intake, and what possible side effects could be. For more information on concerns and interactions follow the link to WebMD.Check out this quick graphic of who should be ingesting Soy Isoflavones, who should take caution, and who should avoid it altogether.
If you are a healthy adult it is generally considered safe to ingest soy.
If you are pregnant, nursing, or may become pregnant. If you have breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, endometrial cancer, or a milk allergy, take caution before ingesting soy.
If you are taking a medication that slows blood clotting, are taking the drug warfarin, or are taking tamoxifen, you should avoid ingesting soy.
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